If you’ve ever had to sit through a trans-Atlantic flight, you know that the seven hour flight time can be grueling. While many airlines are focusing on how to make their jets more comfortable, a U.S. start-up is looking at cutting that flight time down—to around 90 minutes. That’s twice as fast as the Concorde’s four hour flight—something that hasn’t been done since October 2003 when the Concorde flew for the last time.
Hermeus Corporation is based out of Atlanta, and has been working on the project to create a supersonic jet that can travel at Mach 5, five times faster than the speed of sound. “We’ve set out on a journey to revolutionize the global transportation infrastructure, bringing it from the equivalent of dial-up into the broadband era, by radically increasing the speed of travel over long distances,” states AJ Piplica, Hermeus’ co-founder and CEO. That update could see a jet that can travel 4,600 miles at a cruising speed of 3,300 miles per hour.
Such an endeavor has a lot of hurdles to overcome. Senior lecturer in the Aeronautics Department at London’s Imperial College, Paul Bruce, explains that while we have the engineering capability for such a flight, there are still other challenges that have to be addressed. “The bigger issue is the financial and perhaps the environmental issue; flying that fast will burn an awful lot of fuel, and will be much more inefficient than flying slowly. But if there is a market for it, I don’t have any doubt that we could build one of these types of planes.” That market could see prices around $3,000 for a one-way ticket.
Piplica isn’t looking to rush the process. The passenger aircraft could take a decade to develop. And they’ll have competition in that field. Boeing announced back in June 2018 that they were developing a hypersonic passenger plane. Lockheed Martin and Aerion Corporation have similar plans in place.